Archive for Thursday, August 10, 2006

Leadership difference in referendum

August 10, 2006

There was speculation last Tuesday night about what separated the city of Eudora's success in the latest bond referendum from two failed attempts to pass a pool bond in 2003.

In attempting to answer that question, some pointed to the difference in the proposals. The $3.8 million package presented last week, it was said, offered the indoor recreational center and two meeting rooms that appealed to a wider sector of the community than a stand-alone pool.

Factors not mentioned were three more years of age on the three-decade old pool and comparison of that facility to several new pools in Eudora's neighboring cities. Also significant was the city's addition of about 100 homes a year -- many of them now occupied by young families for whom a new pool would appeal -- since the last bond referendum in October 2003.

But as important as those factors might have been, it would seem to us the most significant difference was people. This time, city leaders didn't simply but a question before voters and cross their fingers.

City Administrator Cheryl Beatty and Councilwoman Lori Fritzel worked to register voters. Those on the committee who worked to develop the proposal stayed involved to various degrees in the past two months. They or volunteers they recruited went door to door with informational materials. Phone calls were made to get people out to vote.

The evidence that this engagement made a difference was seen not only in the final results, but in the turnout. In a primary election that brought a snore and 12 percent turnout in Douglas County, 20 percent of Eudora's registered voters participated.

Having recognized the city badly needed new recreational facilities to improve the community's quality of life, those in City Hall worked to make their vision happen.

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